February 3 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Jo Shelley, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, February 4, 2021
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4:11 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

California opens mass vaccination sites as part of federal pilot program

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference in Oakland, California, on February 3.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference in Oakland, California, on February 3. California Governor's Office

California is opening two mass Covid-19 vaccination sites as part of a federal pilot program to quickly boost the number of available doses, as the state continues to see improving numbers in cases, deaths, positivity rate, and hospitalizations.

“Everything that should be up in relationship to this virus is up. Everything that should be down is down,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said, in a news conference at the Oakland Coliseum, one of the soon-to-be-open vaccination sites. 

The rolling average of new daily cases in the state has dropped in half in the past two weeks, according to data from California’s Department of Public Health. The state added 10,501 new cases and 481 additional Covid-19 related deaths Wednesday, and hospitalizations have dropped 30% over the last 14 days.

California State Los Angeles will house California’s other newly-announced vaccination site and both locations are part of a planned 100 locations nationwide in a federal-state partnership. FEMA will provide personal protective equipment and supplies, according to Newsom. 

California is now administering about one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine each week, Newsom said, a rate two to three times higher than the initial rollout as the state attempts to speed up inoculations and jump start its economy as it emerges from a regional stay at home order that shuttered many non-essential businesses.

The Oakland and Los Angeles sites are expected to begin vaccinations on Feb. 16, and appointments will be available through a newly developed statewide website called MyTurn that will alert users when they are eligible for a Covid-19 shot and present an appointment.

Each site will be paired with two mobile vaccination clinics that can be deployed to multiple locations, according to a press release from Newsom’s office. 

3:28 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

West Virginia governor calls for more localized approach to Covid-19 vaccine administration

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

West Virginia Governor's Office
West Virginia Governor's Office

To improve the pace of vaccination against Covid-19, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said states “need to get the bureaucratic thinking out of the system.”

“To sit back and try to develop a system and work on it with 18 experts, or 1,800 experts, with people dying, just isn’t going to get it,” Justice said at a US Chamber of Commerce Foundation event on Wednesday.

Justice also suggested a “common sense” approach to vaccine distribution, focused on vaccinating older people first and making the vaccine available at places people are familiar with, including local pharmacies and local health clinics.

“You have to take this to the people. This model can work anywhere in this country,” he said. “We’re slowly moving to this (nationwide), but in the last few weeks, just to tell it like it is, a bunch of people have died because we were sitting with vaccines on shelves and they should have been in people’s arms," he added.

Some context: West Virginia has consistently been one of the leading states in terms of the share of distributed doses that have been administered. According to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia has administered 82% of the doses they’ve received, putting the state second after North Dakota. Nationally, that rate is about 61%.

Accounting for the extra doses that can be pulled from the vials, 108% of distributed doses have been administered in West Virginia, Justice said on Wednesday.

3:03 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

Yankee Stadium mass vaccination site will open Friday

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio NYC Media

The mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium will open Friday with 15,000 appointments available during the first week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a news release.

The site was targeted because of the Bronx’s positivity rate, which is the highest among all New York City boroughs, but also to “further the state’s and city’s mandate for fairness and social equity in the vaccine distribution process,” according to the release.

"Yankee Stadium has always been known for its World Series banners, but now it'll be recognized as a place where the people of the surrounding community in the Bronx can receive the vaccine doses that they need and deserve,” de Blasio said. “This is about justice and standing up for the neighborhoods that were hardest hit by Covid-19."

A statement from the New York Yankees emphasized the immediate difference these vaccinations will make in the community.

“We will do whatever is needed to make this a success," he said.

2:30 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

Deploying the Defense Production Act to help with vaccine production is on the table, White House says

From CNN's DJ Judd

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN’s Phil Mattingly Wednesday the Defense Production Act is “absolutely” on the table if the administration determines it’s necessary to ramp up vaccine supply ahead of the summer deadline they set for being able to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to every American.

“The reason the President invoked the Defense Production Act was because he wanted to have a range of options for any moment where there was a reduction in supply, on, on, on, you know, materials, on PPE, on syringes. And at the appropriate time, we can certainly use it for that,” She said.

But, Psaki added “we have confidence in” the ability of vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna to produce sufficient vaccine in the time allotted. 

In the meantime, Psaki said, “our focus is really more on evaluating, our team evaluating where there are needs for supplies and materials that would help deliver the vaccines into the arms of Americans.” 

Earlier today, CNN’s Sarah Murray reported that while Biden’s administration had touted its deployment of the DPA, but was taking a “more cautious and contemplative effort” on utilizing the act for vaccine supplies.

2:02 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

Federal government has partnered with 21 pharmacy chains to administer Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

Across the country, 21 pharmacy chains have partnered with the federal government to administer Covid-19 vaccines.

The first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is scheduled to start next week on Feb. 11, as select retail pharmacies receive a limited supply of vaccine directly from the federal government to vaccinate priority groups.

The retail pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program vary by state and jurisdiction. Most states have one or two partners.

Walmart, including Sam’s Club, is a federal partner in 21 states; Walgreens, including Duane Reade, is a federal partner in 14 states; CVS, including Long’s, is a federal partner in 11 states.

Additionally, Rite Aid, Kroger, Albertsons, and Medicine Shoppe and LeaderNET of Cardinal Health have each partnered in at least five states, along with their subsidiaries.

As the program expands, more partners will be added in each jurisdiction, Chris Krese, a spokesperson from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, told CNN. 

1:57 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

Nearly 34 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in US, CDC says

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

A nurse gives a Covid-19 vaccine shot to a patient at CSUN Covid-19 vaccination center in Northridge, California on February 2.
A nurse gives a Covid-19 vaccine shot to a patient at CSUN Covid-19 vaccination center in Northridge, California on February 2. Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 34 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 33,878,254 total doses have been administered – about 61% of the 55,943,800 doses distributed. That’s about 1.1 million more administered doses reported since yesterday.

The pace of vaccinations has steadily risen over time. 

On Dec. 30, the seven-day average was about 255,000 shots per day.

That number jumped to 359,000 on Jan. 6; 710,000 on Jan. 13; 892,000 on Jan. 20; 1.16 million on Jan. 27; and now 1.32 million on Feb. 3.

At the current rate, every adult in the US could be fully vaccinated in about a year.

Assuming 75% of US adults must be fully vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, the US could reach this threshold around Halloween.

Just over 8% of the US population – more than 27 million people – have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 6.4 million people have been fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

Note on the data: States have 72 hours to report vaccine data, so data published by the CDC may be delayed – and may not necessarily mean all doses were given on the day reported. 

2:59 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

Spain's coronavirus death toll tops 60,000 

From CNN’s Duarte Mendonca

Spain has now recorded more than 60,000 coronavirus-related deaths during the pandemic, according to Ministry of Health data released on Wednesday. 

The country recorded another 565 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 60,370, the data shows. 

The country also reported 12,544 new daily cases, bringing the total to at least 2,883,465. 

As the country continues to fight the pandemic, Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias announced Wednesday that the country will receive just over 1.8 million doses of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in February.

The Health Ministry also announced nearly half a million people have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

The country recorded another 565 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 60,370, the data shows.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated the daily death toll was 1,991. It was 565.

1:47 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

UK likely past "this peak" of pandemic, says England's Chief Medical Officer

From CNN’s Sarah Dean and Samantha Tapfumaneyi 

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty
England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty Pool

The UK is likely past “this peak” of the coronavirus pandemic, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday.

Asked whether it’s fair to say the UK is now past the peak, Whitty said: "I think that most of my colleagues think that we are past the peak.” 

“Now that doesn't mean you can never have another peak but at this point in time provided people continue to follow the guidelines we're on a downward slope of cases, of hospitalizations and of deaths in all four nations in the United Kingdom. So I think we do think at this point, this peak, at least, we are past," Whitty explained.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK government hopes to set out a route map on Feb. 22 for exiting its current national lockdown. "It feels to me at the moment we will be going down in tiers nationally," Johnson said, but he warned "that could change".

Almost 9 in 10 people aged 75 and over have received a first dose a Covid-19 vaccine in England, the Department of Health said on Wednesday

But Johnson said Feb. 22nd would be the earliest the government will be able to set out "in as much detail as possible" how they intend to lift some restrictions.

He reiterated that March 8 is the earliest the UK can look at school re-openings. 

Johnson also said the government would make a further announcement on hotel quarantines on Thursday.

1:18 p.m. ET, February 3, 2021

41% of Americans approve of how US is handling pandemic, Pew survey finds

From CNN’s Christopher Rios

About 41% of Americans approve of how the country is handling the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey from the Pew Research Center finds. Asked simply whether the country is doing a bad or a good job, 58% of those polled came down in the “bad” category.

“In the U.S., 67% of those on the ideological right say the American handling of COVID-19 has been good, while just 13% on the ideological left say the same – a 54-point difference,” Pew said. The survey was conducted in December.

The survey of 4,000 adults in the US, Germany, France and the UK also found that 74% of Americans say the pandemic is affecting their everyday lives a great deal or a fair amount, up from 67% in June.

“Only in Germany do fewer than half of those surveyed say the coronavirus has changed their life, while 52% say their life has not changed much or not changed at all,” Pew said.

Germans also overwhelmingly approve of their country’s handling of the pandemic, with 77% rating it as “good.” In France, 54% of those polled approve of their country’s handling and in Britain, 48% did.

But people in all four countries are optimistic about future pandemics. In the US, 67% say they feel optimistic about the country’s ability to handle future crises. In Germany, 77% do, 68% do in the UK and 60% do in France.